About Chef Julia

I grew up learning about food from my Japanese mother who was an outstanding cook, gardener, and artist. My father, a North Carolina native, shared his own culinary interests in traditional southern cooking, as did my grandmother whenever she came to visit us.

My mother shared her love of ethnic foods she learned to cook from friends we encountered when we lived in California,Alaska, South and North Carolina, and Germany. Later, I lived in Japan, Utah, California, and now Texas and added to my long list of favorite foods from around the world.

For me, comfort food has always been the Japanese food we ate at home, freshly prepared rice, simply prepared vegetables and grilled fish or chicken with a soy glaze, but I love the new food adventures I have encountered in my own life.

I have been interested in the topic of longevity and health since 2008 when I read The Blue Zones, Lessons For Living From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest, by Dan Buettner. He researched five areas in the world with the highest concentration of healthy 100 year olds and wrote about their lifestyle, diet, outlook and stress-coping practices. I was especially interested in the diet aspect as a chef, and particularly the Okinawa Blue Zone, as I have a Japanese mother. Fast forward to 2017–and the city of Fort Worth, my hometown, is participating in the Blue Zones Project by Healthways, and I am now an official Fort Worth Blue Zones Project chef! I have been doing cooking demonstrations on plant based dishes since April 2017 and really love it. You don’t have to become a vegetarian/vegan to be healthy and live to 100. People in the Blue Zones ate some animal foods, however they mostly followed a 90-96% plant based diet. I am committed to helping people move toward the Blue Zones way of eating, a little at a time. Reducing the amount of animal foods in your daily eating patterns can make a big difference in your health for many years to come. I am making delicious, beautiful, healthy plant-based meals every day and can’t wait to share them with you. You won’t miss the meat!

Chef Julia Dunaway has been cooking since she was twelve years old and made family meals when her parents worked in the evening. She always loved to cook and prepared meals for her own family and friends until she decided to turn her love of cooking into more than a hobby. She enrolled in the Culinary School of Fort Worth after her youngest child entered college in 2008 and graduated with honors in December 2009. She received the Texas Chefs Association Student of the Year award in 2009. Chef Julia kept a blog of her culinary school experience, “Culinary School Chronicles” at www.chefjulia.blogspot.com. She continues to write about her current business, Chef Julia Personal Chef Services and her travels.

Julia is currently a member of the American Culinary Federation and on the board of the Texas Chefs Association, Fort Worth Chapter. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Fort Worth Japanese Society. She donates her time to community events such as the Azle Taste Tour and Chef’s Holiday Pantry, Cuisine for Healing, Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival fund raisers and other charitable events. She enjoys in home catering events such as dinner parties, cooking classes or special occasion dinners. her cooking companions are her three boxers, Kuma Bear, Mochi, and Taro.